Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

From Spanish Flu to COVID-19 – we’ve been here before…

#24 Lenten Reflections

We constantly hear we are living in unprecedented times, navigating a road less traveled, however…

About 100 years ago, the Spanish Influenza is said to have rooted in an army camp in Kansas. The first wave passed through the United States and went seemingly unnoticed. As soldiers traveled around the world, the infection spread rapidly. The virus did not stop in the trenches, in fact, influenza became more aggressive. As the virus evolved and returned from Europe to the United States, it continued to infect communities all over the United States and did not discriminate.

Sound familiar?

In an interview on Hidden Brain with NPR’s Shankar VedantamHistorian Nancy Bristow weighs in on the Spanish Flu and how its history has been cloaked under the guise of World War I.

“To remember the flu would be to admit to the lack of control that people had had over their own health. It would be to admit that the United States was not necessarily all-powerful, but was like everywhere else in the world: subject as victims to something beyond their control,” she says.

In the time of the Spanish Flu, some cities listened to the guidelines, others lost patience and slipped away from the inconvenient restrictions. Listen here to the full interview.

Another telling story comes from Kara N. Goldman, M.D., an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She compares the Spanish flu with COVID-19. Her story The white scarf on the door: a life-saving lesson from the 1918 Spanish flu is compelling.

She begins, “In 1918, a white scarf tied to the door of my grandmother’s family’s apartment on the North Side of Chicago alerted the community to a virus residing within. My grandmother, then age 3, was one of 500 million people worldwide — one-third of the planet’s population — who was infected with what came to be known as the Spanish influenza. It killed an estimated 50 million people.”

For eight years, I worked in the public health sector. My mission was focused on caring for Hispanic communities throughout the United States and ensuring they had access to health care and immunizations.

People need to heed the instructions of public health experts.

The final death or diagnosis caused by COVID-19 isn’t penciled in on a calendar, nor is it going away anytime soon. Like the Spanish Flu, COVID-19 will go through waves, and like the ocean, they will just keep coming. No pause. No warning. No mercy. So listen to the experts, keep your Easter bonnet in the closet and be patient. The dominoes that have tumbled have yet to finish their fall.



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